FLINT, Michigan — The nonprofit organization 100K Ideas
, based in downtown Flint, is continuing its effort to support local entrepreneurs who are eager to bring their ideas to life and build their own businesses.
From idea exploration to marketing analysis, 100K's services help to simplify the business-building process for aspiring local entrepreneurs. Since its opening in 2017, the non-profit has supported more than 800 entrepreneurial ideas and developed more than 600 assessments.
100K Ideas recently released the fourth episode of its Client Storytelling series which gives past clients the opportunity to talk about their experiences. The new episode features three new Flint entrepreneurs — Peter Deppe of Kuhmute
, Kasey Calvert of Hidden Gems Institute
, and Shane Proulx of Flint City Sporting Club
Peter Deppe - Kuhmute
Peter Deppe is the co-founder of Kuhmute
, a micro-mobility company that began as a response to scooter clutter.
He formed the company in early 2018 after being advised by his mentor to “Take advantage of [his] unfair advantage” as a mobility start-up in Michigan. The state of Michigan’s Department of Transportation cites multimodal transportation as essential to the future of the state.
Kuhmute initially began as an “operator” with rotating locations throughout the city. It soon pivoted to become the charging network for e-scooters, e-bikes, wheelchairs, and anything smaller than an electric vehicle. The company launched its Flint charging station network in July.
Deppe says one of Kuhmute’s core missions is to give back to Flint where the company is headquartered and where all of the products are built and assembled. “We built, started, and continue to grow in Flint. It inspires others to do the same.”
His advice to those beginning their entrepreneurial journey is to just start. “Build the most basic thing to start. That gives you a foundation to get feedback from.”
Kasey Calvert - Hidden Gems Institute (HGI)
Kasey Calvert is the founder of Hidden Gems Institute, a company that offers support in instrumental and performance arts, drawing, and dance in Flint.
Kasey Calvert’s goal with his company Hidden Gems Institute
was simple: to bring instrumental music back to the Flint community by way of an HBCU-style marching band. Calvert, a graduate of Flint Community Schools, says soon after the organization’s inception in 2021, he was met with a demand for other creative opportunities and expanded the institute's offerings.
His advice to budding entrepreneurs is to simply start. “Be proactive and start. You don’t have time to waste! The time is now so put one foot in front of the other and move forward and closer to your dreams and realities.”
Calvert credits 100K Ideas with being there when he was ready to start HGI. “100K was the first step. It took me building the confidence to come in and become acquainted with 100K.”
With HGI, the Flint entrepreneur aims to offer support in instrumental arts, performance arts, drawing, and dance.
Shane Proulx - Flint City Sporting Club
Shane Proulx is the founder of Flint City Sporting Club, formerly known as Flint City Handball Club.
Shane Proulx discovered handball — a sport he describes as a mixture of rugby, basketball, and hockey — while exploring games during the 2008 Olympics. He became interested in the sport and reached out to the USA national handball team for guidance on how to start a team.
Proulx received advice to begin his own team, a dream he shelved for more than a decade. He returned to the idea after the pandemic and introduced Flint City Handball Club to the community.
The organization recently rebranded and changed its name to Flint City Sporting Club
to accommodate expansion, also adding futsal to its list of sports activities. Proulx describes the game as “soccer on a basketball court.”
The club, which is housed at the historic Berston Field House, will soon add a handball and futsal court during upcoming renovations funded in part by a one million dollar state budget allocation. He credits 100K Ideas with facilitating network connections. “We’ve made some great network connections here and that’s really allowed us to grow as an organization.”
Proulx is in talks with the Flint Community Schools to add handball as an activity at all Flint schools.
Check out the full storytelling segment below.
This story is part of a storytelling series supported by 100K Ideas. To learn more, visit: 100kideas.org